Aug 222011
Authors: Emily Kribs, Libby Williams

Emily Kribs, freshman

As a freshman, I’m excited to begin what is incessantly referred to as a “new chapter in my life.”  

For years, people around me have been touting the virtues of higher education and newfound independence, and I wanted to try this college thing for myself. Thus far, though, college has mainly consisted of speeches and forced socialization.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t know what I’m doing.  Heck, it took me almost 30 minutes to learn the secret of the Clark building’s alphabetical segregation.  But since college is supposed to be a step into the adult world, the summer camp mentality that accompanies orientation strikes me as awfully stupid.

I won’t pretend I completely hated preview or Ram Welcome.  I mean,  without Ramapalooza, how else would I have a balloon animal duck?

But it was hard not to notice the fun stuff came at the times we ditched our camp counselor — excuse me, Ram Welcome Leader — to spend time with friends and make our own way.

We could have endured fewer speeches; some of them were interesting, but the vast majority of orators carried an aura of obligation — the same one that plagued the Ram Welcome Leaders, albeit on a lesser level.  

In their case, the issue was small group meetings, where they often struggled to occupy us with sufficient games, small talk and icebreakers, none of which were captivating.

But, if we’re going to be in charge of clothing ourselves, feeding ourselves and getting ourselves to class, I’m sure we’re capable of entertaining ourselves for the 10 intervening minutes until our next activity.

I’m not saying we should completely eliminate the whole process of welcoming freshmen to CSU.

 I’ll definitely concede that I met some pretty cool people over the last few days that I might not have otherwise.  But really, it’s enough that these activities exist.  We don’t need someone to hold our hands.

At the end of the day, I guess my best (unsolicited) tip for improving the transition to CSU would be this: If you’re going to invite us to watch a movie in the grass outside, please, please, please don’t turn the sprinklers on us.

Libby Williams, senior

I had been enrolled in college for two years before transferring to CSU.

I had already eaten more dorm food than I’d like to admit. I’d already trudged to the community laundry, hauling 40 pounds of dirty clothes, just to forget that I’d left my change all the way back at my room. I’d already been lectured about going out to parties and binge drinking — and I’d already tried it.

I had lived the college life for two years, so just because it was my first semester at CSU didn’t mean I needed to go to another “freshmen orientation.”

But still, the university insisted that transfer students attend the annual preview and Ram Welcome.
Half of me felt obligated to attend, hoping it would ease the culture shock of transferring from a small campus to one of 25,000. The other half of me said, “Screw it. I’ve already done the freshman thing.”

So naturally, I said, “Screw it.”

I was a junior and didn’t need to be playing mindless games with a bunch of freshmen. But in the process of screwing it, my psyche was going crazy as I watched all of the newcomers parade around together, get to know one another and figure out the craziness of campus.

As bad as I wanted to be totally on my own, I couldn’t help but think of how valuable it could be to have a veteran show me the ropes.

Yet, my ego told me “no”. So I sat back and watched people attend Ram Welcome, while I ran around campus, trying to find the bookstore and lecture halls days before class even started.

I am currently enrolled in my third senior year at CSU. I’ve attended A LOT of orientations that I’ve truly benefited from, like the study abroad orientation at the University of Leicester in England. I don’t mean to be the old geezer who says, “Someday you’ll wish you appreciated this,” but that’s my stance.

I understand being a freshman like Emily, trying to explore life on your own. I totally understand that Ram Welcome feels like an organized summer camp. But you don’t even realize how much orientations like Ram Welcome will help you in your college experience, and those first few days on campus are ones you’ll remember.

In three years, you’ll be saying, “Remember at Ram Welcome when they had us watch a movie on the lawn and forgot to shut off the sprinklers? Yeah, that was awesome.”

 Posted by at 5:05 pm

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